America's Sagging Arches

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To the anti-globalization crowd, it’s a dream come true, McDonald’s, the symbol of America’s cultural and corporate hegemony, is faltering.

The company posted its first quarterly loss since going public in 1965, and its ever venomous critics are hoping this signals the demise of the evil empire. The cultural and culinary icon has been battered by lawsuits, fat-phobic nutritionists, and increased competition in the fast food market.

McDonald’s, the company will survive this, but the values and the habits we have learned from “Mickey D’s” are now so embedded in this country that any change for McDonald’s is a change for all of us. And I’m not talking about hamburgers. It’s about the way we eat, the way we work and the way we socialize. Imagining America, without the fries.


James Watson, professor of anthropology at Harvard University and author of, “Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia”

George Ritzer, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, and author of, “The McDonaldization of Society.”